CDB’s BNTF Programme celebrates 35 years of assisting poor and vulnerable communities

“Thirty-five years ago, the CDB Board of Directors approved the first allocation of funds to the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF), a major poverty reduction program managed by the Social Sector Division in the Bank.

Back in October 1979, when the first BNTF allocation of USD6.7 mn was approved for seven borrowing member countries (BMCs), we had no idea that almost four decades later, the program would have touched the lives of some two million people in the region to date and become a major engine of the Bank for poverty reduction.

BNTF’s total funding through eight cycles of the program is almost USD300 mn, including the government counterpart contribution.  CDB ensured a steadfast presence by BNTF in the BMCs.

During the periods of structural adjustment, fiscal constraints and weak growth, BNTF was able to help meet basic needs, add value and strength to communities, and change lives of women, men, and children.  We are proud to celebrate 35 years of BNTF in the region this month.

Initially, the program focused on small public works, especially schools, roads, and health facilities.  After developing a broader policy agenda, that focus is on poverty reduction and emphasising the involvement of communities in the design and implementation of interventions.  It is possibly the longest running regional poverty reduction program.

CDB recognises the governments, communities, women, men, youth, civil society and organisa­tions, for making this a successful initiative.

As we look to the future, we will focus on harvesting the benefits of BNTF interventions and moving to another level of innovation in tackling development challenges and reducing poverty.”


Dr. Warren Smith


Homepage image caption: Former Prime Minister, Sir John Compton hands over the newly installed standpipe to a community.  The Anse La Verde Water Upgrade subproject provided more accessible, safer water to residents.